So Many Games, So Little Time 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's been a while since I've had such a hard time choosing a game to buy. With the backlog we get here from time to time, my gaming course is pretty well laid out for me. I do have a few on the back burner at the moment, but there are three games recently released that I've been hungry to get my hands on; Civilization 6, Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2. All three look really entertaining and have received fairly good reviews. I know more than a few people that are caught in the same predicament at the moment. Perhaps by discussing these three we might hasten our decision making process.

Let's start with Civilization 6. The latest in the legendary society building series, Civilization has always been a staple of my collection going back to Civilization 2. There is something really satisfying about a well played game of Civ. Most of the games in the series have maintained a pretty similar structure (at least since Civ 3) with Civilization: Beyond Earth being the most radically different without mods. Of the series, I've sunk countless hours into the lot of them, with the notable exception of Civilization Revolution, the console based release from 2008. I didn't like the stripped-down feel of it. It was made to appeal to console players and those who wanted a faster game. I've never played Civilization looking for a quick game, as such a thing does not exist.

I have some concerns over the new additions to Civ 6 and what it does to the complexity of play. I'm used to being able to turn my workers loose after assigning them a few specific jobs, but being required to organize where my various buildings will go sound different enough that I'm sure I will have difficulty adjusting to the new style. From the reviews I've read, the new additions don't over complicate things and actually break up some of the monotony of the middle game, but I will have to judge for myself.

Next up, we have Battlefield 1. I did get a few rounds in while the beta was active as well as a short amount of time with it at PAX this year, but I've been told that there are a number of improvements and tweaks in the final game. The reviews have been surprisingly good, especially considering how large the scope of the game is. The last few games in the Battlefield series have been a bit bloated with superfluous weapons and attachments, vehicles and gimmicky mechanics. In contrast, Battlefront was too stripped down, leaving players with little variety to keep them playing. Battlefield 1 seems to have fallen somewhere in the middle. The expansive maps and unique weapons and vehicles have brought back the scope and variety that defined some earlier entries in the series.

The campaign is said to very good, which is surprising given that the only really great campaigns the series have had were in the Bad Company entries. There is a dissonance in the way the campaign is presented in contrast to the multiplayer. Where the campaign seems to focus on the horrors of war and the enormous human cost of conflict, the multiplayer actively encourages you to shoot anything that moves.

Finally we have Titanfall 2. Of the three games, Titanfall 2 has been met with the worst reviews. Most say that it is simply okay in many respects but that the multiplayer aspect remains solid. A lot has changed since the premiere of the series. The burn card system is gone, as is the "campaign multiplayer." It seems a number of reviewers found the latter to be lacking, as most of the reviews I've read have marked it as a plus. I really enjoyed the layout for the campaign in the first game. It added a certain level of unpredictability and challenge to the game's story that kept it interesting and replayable.

I have a bit of a love affair with Titanfall. It's one of the few games in recent years that I can legitimately consider myself very good at. There is something about the way the game responds and moves that just clicked for me. At my best, I had a 4.6 K/D ratio vs other pilots and a 15.1 vs AI. It became a perfect stress reliever for me at the end of a long work day, a cathartic release that felt so rewarding to play. I'm eager to recreate that experience, but fearful that the new changes will make it harder for me to reach that point, or worse that I'll never be able to achieve that level of skill again.

 It is encouraging to hear that there are a number of additions to the customization of pilots and Titans. As much as I liked the choices available to me in Titanfall, there wasn't a huge variety of armaments or modifications for them to keep the rank up process as rewarding as it should have been.

So there we are. These are the three games at vying for a place at the top of my list. After talking about them more, I feel I may be a bit closer to a decision, but I've still got a great deal to think about. I hope that you fare better than I.